This week I want to share a personal note. For those of you who partner in prayer with us, I ask for more detailed prayers this week. I am a simple man and I like simplicity. There was a time when doing missions seemed simple enough. You go to a place where people are unreached (we came to where there are less than 2% Christians) and share the gospel with the love of Christ so that some may come to know Jesus as their Savior & Lord. To this end, we are willing to give up almost everything. Our goal as missionaries is clear, but there are factors that can discourage, complicate or even oppose what we are trying to accomplish. Each day there’s so much going on in my mind & heart.
There are many times when we miss our life back home because home is where your support structure lies, home is where things are familiar, home is where your children feel most comfortable & it is where you have reached a certain level of expertise & fruitfulness.
On the mission field, things move much slower, progress is much more gradual, and experiencing success is quite sporadic. I’m often encouraged by missionaries who share their experience of sowing for a long time before they saw any fruit. Still, I was brought up in the Western mindset & in a Korean American church culture so the speed in which our missionary works are being unfolded is quite difficult. You add in children to the missionary equation and things get more complicated because like any parents you desire the best for them, but sometimes you feel like you asked them to give up so much.
As a missionary, I often feel my options are very limited. It’s either you can or cannot. No matter how badly you want something, if there’s no resource, you just cannot. Before coming to Taiwan, I felt I always had options, definitely a back up plan. But now all I have is Christ. I realize that this is where the Lord wants us to be and I understand why this has to be, not to mention He has been so faithful & gracious, but still on certain days there is a spiritual/emotional tug of war going on in my mind.
At the risk of sounding weird I want to tell you candidly that I often have to cast out demons & evil spirits from our home because I sense their presence trying to discourage us. The best side effect has been that we have no choice but to cling to Christ even more firmly. I also know we need the heartfelt prayers of other believers. We desperately need your prayers that will bring spiritual protection & strengthen our faith so that we can persevere. Ultimately prayer is what moves all things and I’m beginning to have a better understanding of Paul’s encouragement to “pray continually (1 Thess. 5:17).”
What always keeps us where we are as opposed to taking the reasonable & logical option comes down to what Jesus shared in Luke 15:4. He asks, “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?”
It is for that sheep that we find ourselves here in Kaohsiung away from home. Sunday was a perfect reminder of this as our Taiwanese church baptized 5 people. Truly there’s nothing in this world that can equal the beauty & significance of the lost returning to the Father’s arms.